A mix of many nationalities and not having lived in any place particularly long whilst growing up, Samantha decided at the age of 21 to move to South Africa, with a backpack and no knowledge of winemaking, just a passion for consuming it. She began studying with the Cape Wine Academy and the Wine and Spirits Trust and soon learnt her interest lay in the winemaking aspect of the industry.
After 4 years of living in Stellenbosch and immersing herself in the world of organics and biodynamics working at Reyneke Wines, she moved to the Swartland region. She worked with Chris & Andrea Mullineux for a year before joining Terracura, Silwervis & Smiley for 4 years. In early 2020, during a global pandemic and a South Africa liquor ban, she decided to take the plunge and start her own winery, VINEVENOM.
VINEVENOM focuses on the authentic expression of grape, terroir and biological aging. All the grapes are farmed sustainably and harvested by hand. The objective is to farm for quality, not quantity. The vineyard sites are chosen based on grape suitability to soil and climate, with the Swartland being a hot, Mediterranean climate the focus is on Chenin blanc, Cinsault and Syrah. But as new and less explored varieties reach maturity such as Carignan and Touriga Nacional the Swartland region will only get more exciting and diverse as time progresses.
The wines are all naturally fermented with no additions of yeast, acidity or fining agents and are raised in a combination of concrete, old barrel or stainless steel. A fascination with skin contact, oxidative styles and the development of Flor yeast on the surface of the wine fuels the hands off, low intervention winemaking approach.